25 April 2003


Ecosocialism is an objective rebellion. What this means is that the negative infrastructure of protest and boycott, the rebellion of the subject against authoritarian subjectivity, is bound to evaporate once the causes that brought it about disappear. The rebellion of the subject against authoritarian subjectivity always stands in danger of being replaced by the authoritarian consciousness that failed to rebel. Necessary, then, are what Joel Kovel calls "prefigurations," which means (in its most organized form) socialist forms of human existence (everything from sharing in Kindergarten on up) and also ecologically-sustainable practices (organic gardening, recycling, conservation, intentional communities), growing to the extent that it is possible for them to grow in the shadow of capitalist domination while at the same time revolting against all capitalist barriers to its growth. If the eco-dwelling were just another co-opted institution, the capitalist Establishment would not be working so hard (today) to pre-empt its existence with a war against nature.

Web articles everywhere are reiterating the message that today's objective reality is one of class warfare. Norway's Indymedia site offers an example: we realize, today, that there's a war going on by corporations against everyone and everything. In light of such a war, then, it's only fair to discuss what tactics the people can use in the "rebellion phase" of such a war. The militants among us will advocate an "objective" armed revolution, but the battle on the field has already been won by those with the most guns. That is of course, the US, with its spending habits. The real possibilities of rebellion, then, exist in the objectively-rebellious qualities of those things that resist corporate domination, in all of that which is in the object which itself puts up a barrier to its being assimilated to the cancer of capitalist "development."

The people must side actively with the land itself (and the rebellious things upon it) as it resists being a pawn of capitalist domination. The people should stand with bio-diversity against commodity, for instance, but it goes beyond that into cultural diversity, ideological diversity, and diversity in human relationships as we struggle to fracture the capitalist trend of standardization. The complaint that all rebellions are themselves subject to co-optation without a revolution is itself too tied to the rebellion of the message to see the real site of anti-capitalist resistance. Anticapitalism must also be found in the resisting object if it is to be effective, since (as Bill Readings showed so persuasively in The University In Ruins) the message that carries anticapitalist meaning is itself even more subject to co-optation in non-revolutionary conditions than is the object itself. To co-opt the message, the capitalist Establishment merely needs a mass media; to co-opt the object, a global army of bulldozers will be needed at minimum.

The fact that you are here reading this article signifies your prior resistance to the media spell that accomodates itself to corporate hegemony. In order for you to have been attracted to a site with a subversive name like "ecosocialism," you will have previously "seen through" the mythology that promotes socialism as The Bogeyman, thus I can address you as an audience by assuming that you are already no longer a mere follower by virtue of having gotten here.

On a global level, the one main accomplishment of the resistance to corporatist mythology, beyond its mere presence in your thoughts, is to have alienated the population against the "mainstream media" -- the carriers of this mythology. One can see this even through the authoritarian reaction, dialectically. In the US, for instance, the television set with its authoritarian line and fearmongering can be seen as indications that the corporate Establishment fears the freedom to think that you have acquired through Net research. Huge antiwar protests occuring against media blackouts serve as evidence that the "mainstream media" are losing their grip upon the popular imagination. Dialectically, the media respond by being even more authoritarian. Think, for instance, about how recently it really has been that MSNBC fired Phil Donahue and hired Michael Savage. Eventually, the mainstream response is bound to fail, for the viewers will lose interest. But what will exist in its wake? Will the resulting opening for free thought, the one you already have experienced, be filled with another Establishment mythology? In the absence of any material "prefigurations" of ecosocialist society, it's likely.

The point is that thinking freely, against the mass media, is good, but it's not enough. Everyone should try to get "linked," materially, to a community that seeks to incarnate resistance in co-operative institutions. Food, water, medicine, shelter, belief, community, all this must be de-commodified and made into incarnate possibilities for all of us, as we drift in a capitalist sea with no sight of solid land.

21 April 2003


Here's a group worth exposing. Anyone know these people? Anyone in favor of McCarthyism?

20 April 2003


Howard Dean's campaign manager e-mailed me and informed me of this article. Dean contradicts Charles Knight's assertion that he favors "unilateralism" -- but without reference to Knight's assertion that he did so at a speech to the "Alliance for American Leadership, an invitation-only organization of foreign policy specialists most of whom were associated with the Clinton administration." People who are examining this candidate as if American democracy could be restored by electing a better dictator should ask him (or perhaps his campaign manager) if he can quiet Knight's rumor, and discuss what he actually said to the Alliance for American Leadership.

In other news, I've been alerted to an article in Le Monde that informs us that the neoconservatives are interested in using America's excess military might to bring democracy to the world. This may, in fact, be the public philosophy of many neoconservatives. But I have to question the sincerity of neoconservatives who proclaim thusly. Let's look, for instance, at what the US did for Afghanistan, with handpicked "leader" Hamid Kharzai pretending to represent the government in Kabul and with the warlords in charge throughout the rest of the country. Let's look at the US record in supporting dictatorships elsewhere, since the beginning of the 19th century -- dozens of invasions 'round the world, yet nothing for democracy. Let's think about what sort of Islamic fundamentalism would attain power if Iraq were to be allowed real democracy. It behooves me to think that the neoconservatives in power today would opt for the dictatorships of their choice (airbrushed with veneers of democratic process), rather than risk democracies which would, like Algeria almost did before they shut it down, become anti-Western.

I would argue, then, that the most honest statement of neoconservatism was Jeane Kirkpatrick's essay "Dictatorships and Double Standards," to be found in the November 1979 issue of Commentary magazine. Kirkpatrick argued that the United States should support "authoritarian" regimes as opposed to "totalitarian" regimes because, she argued, "authoritarian" regimes would become democratic eventually, whereas "totalitarian" regimes would never become democratic. By "totalitarian" she meant, of course, "Communist," the state-capitalist regimes of the USSR and China and their satellites. Now, the neoconservatives can't use Kirkpatrick's arguments any more, since the USSR collapsed and became "democratic" against all her expectations -- but her 1979 article still stands as the most honest statement of US neoconservative foreign policy to date. At least Kirkpatrick owned up to supporting dictatorship. Her argument's obsolescence reveals the neoconservatives as hiding, once again, behind meaningless declarations of "democracy."

You know, folks, in Francis Fukuyama's famous neoconservative book The End of History and the Last Man, it is proclaimed that "liberal democracy" is the ultimate, Hegelian, end of world-society. "Liberal," of course, is the neoconservatives' endorsement world for "free enterprise," the glorious pursuit of profit as seen through the eyes of those who appear to the rest of the world as corporate hegemons. What's interesting about Fukuyama's thesis, however, is that in picking up the "liberal" end, he can't explain the relevance of democracy to capitalism. Fukuyama can't explain why world-society wouldn't end up with capitalist dictatorships a la Singapore across the globe, and in actually addressing this question, he ruminates without producing any real answer. The rest of the neoconservatives have no real answer to Fukuyama's dilemma, either.

What this means is that not only is "free enterprise" not necessary for democracy, but that there's no substance in neoconservative claims that "free enterprise" is even relevant to democracy. In fact, in flying the banner of "free enterprise," the neocons don't seem to need the substance of democracy at all. Maybe this failure to give substance to an endorsement of "democracy," to give substance to any expressions of popular will beyond the particular neoconservative preference for "free enterprise," explains why the Bush Administration smells more like a dictatorship each day as it pursues its self-proclaimed chore of bringing "democracy" to the world.

Late-breaking: Howard Dean's campaign manager responded... saying that Dean was being cornered by some reporter with an absurd hypothetical question (which is of course quite likely)... stay tuned...